The fate of the financially burdened Red River Valley Speedway could rest on the shoulders of a well-known Fargo racing enthusiast.
Late Monday, Oct. 5, Fargo resident Danny Schatz, former auto racer and father of World of Outlaws star Donny Schatz, came forward with a proposal to lease the West Fargo speedway.
In his proposal, the elder Schatz asked to lease the track for $20,000 per year for five years.
"It is a very preliminary proposal," said Bryan Schulz, Red River Valley Fair general manager. "We, as a committee, must discuss many things: the responsibilities of Mr. Schatz, concessions, the grandstand - all kinds of stuff. That's when we'll come back and talk to him about this and what we'll like to see in the contract."
Schulz said one aspect that must be ironed out is the length of the contract. Leases for the speedway currently aren't allowed to go longer than three years. "What we'd have to do is a three-year contract with an option of five years or longer," he said.
Also in the proposal, Schatz noted that he would like to change the size of the race track, "which would involve moving corners and back straight-aways."
"This expense I would incur with no leans or financing whatsoever to the facility," he wrote.
Schatz also wants to change the days of races to Wednesdays. This increases flexibility for area drivers who could race Wednesdays at RRVS and then be able to travel to River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, which holds its races on Fridays.
A priority of Schatz if he does lease RRVS will be controlling the financial instability of the track. A report distributed in September revealed a net income of $13,237 as of Sept. 23. However, the report failed to take into account unpaid expenses. According to Schulz, once the bills are tallied, results could reflect a net loss of as much as $30,000 to $40,000 for the season.
A board meeting to discuss Schatz's proposal was scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 7 in the Hartl Ag Building on the Red River Valley Fairgrounds, however no information was available when this edition of the Pioneer went to press. Another open board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15.
"We don't want to see it closed, but we can't continue to take a hit every year," Schulz said. "I think (Schatz) has a passion for the track and would do a good job."